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Thread: florescent lights and electric scales

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Default florescent lights and electric scales

    Murphy,

    Explain this one to me...

    In an other thread you mentioned digital scales having issues with florescent lights. Is there a safe distance or just bad stuff all together?

    Thanks

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    It has to do with the ballast in the old type lights, I have not heard of the new compact florescent bulbs making trouble. I had a $10 shop light mounted under the cabinets over my bench, about 2 feet from the scale that would drive it nuts. The over head light about 5 or 6 foot away has no effect. That should give you a range of sorts. Also not all scales are prone to this, some even have shielding built in. I'm sure Murphy will have more details but here is what I know, and even a free bump.

    Andy

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    You did good Andy,

    I believe it is the ballast, which is basically a transformer and typical transformer action is electro-magnetic. I believe it is this electromagnetic interference that has an effect on the scales, it would effect any electronics. I am educated in the field but just an educated guess as to the actual cause. Shielding of the scales will help.

    My garage lights on the ceiling do not effect my Pact scale but it is effected by a flourescent light within 4 feet of the bench top.

    I have read on other sights that it is the light itself that causes the trouble but I don't believe this to be the case. When I've questioned those who say this they cannot give reason only that; "That's what they heard".

    As to what distance would be safe, that would depend on the type of ballast and the energy level. (wattage) Certainly the newer energy saver lights will have less of an effect.
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    Thanks,

    In the summer in Phoenix I load at night as the garage temps exceed 110 during the day. At night I have doors open so I use a cover over the scale to ward off air movement errors. The cover has a metal top, perhaps that blocks electric interference.

    Yesterday I was loading with my bench light on, (about 2-3 feet above my bench) with no air shield, doors were closed. I was getting crazy readings, about +/- .5 grains and there was no air movement. I put the cover on and the reading stabilized. I then turned out the lights and used a flash light with no cover. The scale worked fine with the florescent light off.

    I use a Dillon Precision electronic scale. I guess I need to trash the over head bench light or load during the day.

    Thanks for the info...

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    I use an electronic scale to back up my balance beam scales.

    I was obtaining all sorts of weird readings during the periods of super cold weather. It turned out that I was building up a static charge on the scale and the powder bowl/funnel. I now wipe the whole thing off with a anti-static dryer towell ever half hour or so.

    I also move my shop radio a little further away from the electronic scale area. I think the speaker magnet was giving me some odd readings.

    While I do have a samll under the cabnet type floresent light over my one of my reloading benches, I never noticed the scale doing weird things until we had some power glitches the other night. The Homer Electric Association (thieving Bas&%#ds for short) was busy trying to fry my wiring, so the lights were buzzing as they tried to adjust. I did notcie that when that happened my electronic scale went nuts and started to run up all sorts of random numbers. I could not get it to turn off until I disconnected the batteries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Thanks,

    In the summer in Phoenix I load at night as the garage temps exceed 110 during the day. At night I have doors open so I use a cover over the scale to ward off air movement errors.
    Boy I sure don't miss that heat! Walk out of a store and get oven blasted back off your feet.

    Last week the wife and I walked out of a store into -35 and I grumbled some. The wife just smiled and said "We could just move back to Arizona if you donít like it." That was all it took for me to embrace and enjoy that -35 all the way home!

    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Boy I sure don't miss that heat! Walk out of a store and get oven blasted back off your feet.

    Last week the wife and I walked out of a store into -35 and I grumbled some. The wife just smiled and said "We could just move back to Arizona if you donít like it." That was all it took for me to embrace and enjoy that -35 all the way home!

    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Boy I sure don't miss that heat! Walk out of a store and get oven blasted back off your feet.

    Last week the wife and I walked out of a store into -35 and I grumbled some. The wife just smiled and said "We could just move back to Arizona if you donít like it." That was all it took for me to embrace and enjoy that -35 all the way home!

    Andy
    I was born and raised in Anchorage. I would move back in a second but my wife only likes the summers up there. I take her up often to visit with family in Anchorage, Soldotna, Kasilof and Homer. We ski, sled, fish and ride snow mobiles with my brothers and sisters and all of our kids. She seems to like it but just can't make the jump.

    I'm going up for the Iron Dog next month, her birthday hits during the race. That puts me in the dog house when I get back. By the way I'm not racing just following the race and helping my brother out.

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    Talking Another question

    This thread hits close to home on a conversation I had with my dad a couple of weeks ago. He called me up and asked if I had heard about a flourescent light having a negative affect on a balance beam scale with a magnetic dampener if the light is within three feet. I hadn't. Maybe I could be enlightened here. Any information on this matter would be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 454casull View Post
    This thread hits close to home on a conversation I had with my dad a couple of weeks ago. He called me up and asked if I had heard about a flourescent light having a negative affect on a balance beam scale with a magnetic dampener if the light is within three feet. I hadn't. Maybe I could be enlightened here. Any information on this matter would be appreciated.
    If it's true, this might explain the major problem I'm having with my Lee scale. I am getting different readings for the exact same amount of powder. I don't think the Lee scale has a magnetic dampener but I'll check on that. I have a flourescent light about 3 feet above my bench. Maybe I'll turn it off and hang a drop light somewhere higher above the bench and see what happens.

    I talked to a customer of mine and he said he has been using a pharmaceutical scale for years and swears by it.

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    I owned a couple of different electronic scales over the last 20 years or so. I finally concluded they are great for weighing cases, bullets, etc. But they are very frustrating when using them for trickling in powder charges.
    Going back to the RCBS beam scale for powder charges has made my handloading a lot easier
    Tennessee

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    I was testing loads in my .375 and the data was confusing. I would get slower velocities with higher charges. Once I read about the fluctuations with fluorescent lights near the bench it explains why my charges were off. I loaded some of the rounds at night with the lights on and some during the day with the lights off. All of that data is crap. Anyway, I have gone back and started over things are much better now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 454casull View Post
    This thread hits close to home on a conversation I had with my dad a couple of weeks ago. He called me up and asked if I had heard about a flourescent light having a negative affect on a balance beam scale with a magnetic dampener if the light is within three feet. I hadn't. Maybe I could be enlightened here. Any information on this matter would be appreciated. .
    I have heard of it but don't know if it's true or not. If true I would think it is the magnetic dampener pulling or pushing the beam and 3 feet sounds a long way off for this type effect to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookseller View Post
    I don't think the Lee scale has a magnetic dampener but I'll check on that. I have a flourescent light about 3 feet above my bench.
    My Lee cheep scale has a magnetic dampener on it and I don't like it for that reason. Mine has a plastic arm with a bit of steel on the back end that fits inside the magnetic dampener to slow the swing. I like my RCBS true balance beam that I got from my grandpa back in the 70's. It has a powder pan on one end and a weight pan on the other. To double check I can swap ends with the pans and see if she will still come to a balance with that powder charge. It can be slow and picky but its dead on accurate if the weights in the pan are.

    Andy

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    Default Magnetic damping

    The magnetic damping works by suspending a piece of copper between the poles of a magnet - kind of like a shorted out electric generator. The damping is velocity dependent so when the beam comes to rest the magnet has no effect on the copper.

    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    My Lee cheep scale has a magnetic dampener on it and I don't like it for that reason. Mine has a plastic arm with a bit of steel on the back end that fits inside the magnetic dampener to slow the swing. I like my RCBS true balance beam that I got from my grandpa back in the 70's. It has a powder pan on one end and a weight pan on the other.
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    I have a Lyman 1200 electric dispenser/scale and a flourescent light on my reloading bench about a foot and a half away from the scale. I use the check weight each time before I reload and have never noticed any variations. The check weight comes back at the exact same weight that it's supposed to every time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The magnetic damping works by suspending a piece of copper between the poles of a magnet - kind of like a shorted out electric generator. The damping is velocity dependent so when the beam comes to rest the magnet has no effect on the copper.
    Could be copper as I only set it up once to look it over, came in a press kit I got from Gunbroker.com. Looked like low quality stainless steel to me but I will dig it out and check as what you say makes since.

    Andy

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